Copycat Almond Butter Bliss

Let’s pretend it’s summer. Well, if you were in the Northeast the past few days, it’s probably not all that difficult to imagine. We’ve had unseasonably warm weather and my feelings on it have been perfectly captured by Sarah Andersen.

Back to what I was saying before. It’s warm out. You’re sick of salads. What do you eat?

An açaí bowl!

Açaí (ah-sigh-ee) is a berry that’s kinda like a cross between a blueberry and a grape. It’s high in antioxidants, low in sugar, and high in iron, calcium, fiber, and vitamin A. It’s got a sweet, berry yet chocolate taste to it. You’ll often see them in smoothies and often referenced as a superfood. TLDR; they’re good for you.

They’re also incredibly finicky as a commodity. As soon as they are picked, they start to lose their flavor and their potency. They grow in tropical climates (think Brazil). So when we in the USA finally get our hands on these babies, they’ve been processed into a puree or turned into a freeze-dried powder. It’s the only way to preserve its tastiness and health benefits.

So why am I talking about açaí and what are they doing in bowls?

Juice Generation, a coveted health spot for the wellness minded, makes a fantastic açaí bowl. The problem is that the bowls cost $12 in NYC and I personally can’t justify buying that a couple of times each week. So, like every other thing I love but is too expensive, I found a way to make it at home. Mine is a bit less creamy as I attempted to keep it as low calorie as possible.

If you haven’t had a bowl from Juice Generation and you have access to one, you should *absolutely* give it a try. You won’t be sorry, even if it looks a bit like mud.

Copycat Almond Butter Bliss

What you’ll need

  • High speed blender
  • knife
  • cutting board
  • spatula
  • measuring spoons/cups

Ingredients

  • 2 packets açaí puree, frozen (run under water for a few minutes to loosen it up a bit)
  • 3 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 3/4-1 cup almond milk, unsweetened
  • 3-4 ice cubes
  • 1/2 cup Nature’s Path Hemp+ Granola
  • 2-3 strawberries, sliced
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes

Steps

  1. Place the contents of both açaí into the blender. Add 1/2 of the banana, 2 tbsp almond butter, ice cubes and 3/4 cup almond milk. Blend until smooth. It should be thicker than a smoothie. Add the remaining almond milk to make it blend better if needed. Keep adding more milk if it needs it.
  2. Once the mixture is thick but smooth, pour into a bowl. Evenly top with the granola. Spoon the remaining almond butter in the center of the bowl and top with banana and strawberry slices. Sprinkle with coconut flakes.
  3. Enjoy!

Tip: If you want to eat this for lunch, make your base in advanced and place in the freezer. Let it thaw for about an hour before lunch. You can prep the strawberries + bananas before hand as well. You can also halve the recipe for a smaller portion. Add some protein powder to make it a touch more filling.

Approx: 610-670 calories

Pickled Ginger Carrots

I always forget that pickling veggies is the easiest thing to do and offers the most reward! I’ve been pickling carrots with ginger ever since Sweet Roots inspired me to make crispy tofu bahn mi. What a fulfilling, easy dish for these cold nights! It also rekindled a love for food that had been MIA for a while (which explains my absence, I got kinda sick). Nothing says “welcome home” like a hearty sandwich and a bed of greens.

Image
Crispy Tofu Bahn Mi with Sesame-Tamari Kale

This recipe is adapted from my all-time favorite, Smitten Kitchen. I reduced the amount of sugar and took out the garlic, although the garlic would be very tasty with the ginger! Be sure to use an airtight container or else your fridge will begin to smell ripe after a week or so. Over the weekend, when you have a half hour to spare, send those carrots through the julienne blade of your processor and get those carrots a’pickling.

Pickled Ginger Carrots

  • 1 pound carrots, cut into 3 1/2- by 1/3-inch sticks
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 cup cider vinegar (for a sweeter brine) or plain vinegar (what I prefer for pickling)
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
  1. Place the carrots in a heatproof container.
  2. Bring the water vinegar, sugar, ginger and salt to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce the heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Pour the liquid over the carrots. Cool, uncovered. remaining ingredients to a boil in saucepan, then reduce heat and simmer 2 minutes. Pour pickling liquid over carrots and cool, uncovered.
  3. Seal with an airtight container and enjoy after a few hours. They should keep for up to a month but I doubt they’ll last that long!

Buttermilk Biscuits

Who doesn’t love a warm, buttery biscuit? In the past I made vegan Buttermilk Biscuits and they turned out pretty good. Making your own buttermilk (vegan or not) is mind-blowingly easy and can be done without having to run to the store to get buttermilk.

I’m back on the dairy train and trying to perfect some of my favorite recipes. This one is from Smitten Kitchen. You can basically do the same thing with vegan ingredients- what matters is the flour:fat ratio. I served mine with some thyme & garlic scape scrambled eggs. Yum!

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 9 tbsp chilled unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk (1/2 cup + 3 tbsp milk & 2 1/2 tsp vinegar)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease with butter.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients together.
  4. Add in the butter a few pieces at a time, using your hands to knead it in. The flour will begin to look coarse.
  5. Stir in the buttermilk. Flour your hands lightly and mix together with your hands.
  6. On a floured surface, spread the dough out so that it’s about 1/2 inch thick. With a round cutter (I used the 1/4 cup measure), cut out circles and place on the baking sheet. Repeat until the dough is gone.
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes, checking the bottoms so that they don’t catch. Enjoy!

Homemade Applesauce

When Mother Nature gives you mealy apples, make applesauce!

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs of apples, peeled, cored, and chopped (I used Gala)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 sugar (I recommend 1/4 cup. 1/2 cup was just a bit too sweet)
  • 1 cup of water
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 strips of lemon peel
  • Cinnamon

Directions

  1. Bring all of the ingredients to a boil and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  2. When the apples are very tender, remove from heat.
  3. Pulverize with a potato masher until the big chunks are gone.
  4. Sprinkle a little extra cinnamon and enjoy!